Yesterday we talked about the soul mate. While I was writing a thought occurred to me, the existence of a soul mate infers that it is the soul that returns to God or heaven or whatever at the end. The soul is the thing that continues and learns and becomes the being that is ready for immortality. So what pray tell is the spirit?
There was a time when I was taught that soul and spirit were two totally different things. That it is the spirit not the soul that returns to God. The soul is only the breath or the physical life of a human. It was further explained that the major difference between man and animal is the fact that man has spirit and soul whereas animal only has soul. To tell the truth I have always had a bit of trouble wrapping my brain around this concept. It was never really explained to me in a manner that proved it. A lot of what was used to prove the theory was supposition or personal opinion. Hence it never made it out of the theory stage for me.
Now that I am older and have experienced life a bit more and have absorbed more information concerning spiritual and physical things I am of a mind that spirit and soul are both eternal. God made man of the slime of the earth and then breathed into his face and gave him life, this is where God gave man breath life or what some call a soul. From here the soul of man began to learn and it was the soul of man that disobeyed and ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The soul is the inner core of a human. It is all of their experiences, their emotions... everything that makes the person an individual. It was this core being that disobeyed and that is why it was such a big deal. Had Adam simply been hungry and didn't notice what tree he was eating from or if the fruit had simply been one in a pile of other fruit and then accidentally eaten, the story would have been different. But because Adam knowingly changed what God had said and knowingly disobeyed and ate the fruit anyway it became about intent. Did Adam intend to disobey? Yes, he did. It was almost as if Adam was daring God and in some ways that is exactly what happened. It was Satan that suggested 'What's God going to do if you do eat of it?'
Later, after Adam had been kicked out of the garden, God said of Adam that his thoughts were continually evil. This tells me that Cain was a chip off the ole block, perhaps Abel took after his mother. Eve was not mentioned again. She never angered God again as far as the Bible records. But Adam it seemed, had an evil soul.
So if the soul is that part of man that is a combination of all that he is and the soul is the eternal part then what is spirit? This is the part that I have always had trouble with. In the Old Testament it is said that the spirit of God is placed upon his servants like Abraham to help guide him and protect him. When Abraham died the spirit that belonged to God returned to God. In the New Testament the spirit of Christ (not God) can be within a child of God (not Christ). The presence of Christ's spirit in a man is the proof and privilege of the child of God. When that person dies the spirit that is Christ's returns to God who owns it, because he also owns Christ his Son. This is where they get the name Christian i.e. Christ in (or the Latin equivalent), which was coined by those that persecuted the new religion after the death of Jesus.
The problem that I have with the original argument is this; if a person is not so blessed with the spirit of God upon them in the Old Testament then they are (according to the previous explanation) nothing more than animals with only a soul. For most people of faith this works just fine for them because everyone else is just a heathen anyway. But they really should think this through a bit better. In the OT there are very few people that are said to have the spirit of God upon them and that it is not always there. Does that mean that sometimes Abraham was just an animal and not the holy man of God that he is portrayed as being? What about Isaac or Moses? A person can make excuses for any of them and perhaps all of the Prophets and such but what about the rest of the people of Israel? Were they all animals, heathens as well? Now do you see why this explanation does not work for me? It's just not logical.
It is more logical to say that the soul is the man or person. It is everything that makes the person an individual and it is growing and learning until the end, when all that are going to heaven are ready to be immortal. Hence the soul, the man is eternal. The spirit is something that belongs to God, it is a piece of him or in the case of the NT the spirit is a piece of Christ, God's only begotten Son. That piece of spirit is given like a loan to special people to help them do what needs to be done. Then it returns to God. In the NT, now days the spirit is still given like a loan but in addition to its duties as helper it also acts as a marker, setting those apart that are adopted children of God. When the person dies the spirit returns to God.
Now comes the next obvious question, how does this work with reincarnation? That's simple. The soul of a man remains at the core the same from one life to the next, either good or evil. But things learned, steps taken towards enlightenment, those things are added to the soul and carried forward. In the OT the most a man could accomplish was to achieve the rank of servant of God. But as mankind as a whole grew and learned there came a time when Jesus could come and set some things straight. When he did he made it available for man to be adopted by God. So now a man can achieve a higher rank, he can become a child in the household. When he does that rank is never diminished, anymore than the rank of servant was diminished. Now as a child of God a man can achieve rewards and crowns of glory from God by doing certain things, just as a servant could achieve certain rewards for serving God well. Those things are not taken away from the soul of a man when he dies, they continue with the soul into the next life where more rewards can be won.
This is the only logical and fair way that I can think of this working. It would be incredibly unfair to offer a man like Moses only the title of servant when someone who is a much lesser person or even an equal person a seat as child of God in his household. That is unfair in every way. Once again I find it hard to believe that the God that is spoken of in the Bible could be so unforgiving and rigid. The God of the Bible is not such a being. Giving a man like Moses a lesser reward for his service would be a tragedy and it would not be loving either. I don't think that it is something that God would do.
Until next time, be good to each other.